It’s great when friends send me links to the work of artists with whom I am not familiar. Lucy Hilmer is the latest artist that I have discovered through my friend Laurie.
Hilmer has three series on her website, all of which address the issue of time and aging. The first series, “Birthday Suits”, consists of pictures that she has taken of herself every year on her birthday since 1974. In them, she wears a pair of underpants, shoes and socks, but is otherwise nude.
The second series, “The Wedding House”, shows Hilmer and her husband standing in front of the house in which they got married in 1984. They go there every year on their anniversary to make take a picture commemorating the event.
The third series, “My Valentine”, is a series of 21 photographs, all of which chart the first twenty-one years of her daughter’s life on Valentine’s Day. The pictures depict her husband, who has on a black sweater, and her daughter, who wears white, and a rose.
Because I have shot a number of series in this manner over the course of many years, I have a real appreciation for the discipline required to get out your camera and take a shot every year on the same date. Hilmer’s poses hint at what is going on in her life in any given year, without giving too much away, and I really respond to that. The fact that her work is in black & white makes it relatively timeless, as does the fact that her clothing in her “Birthday Suit” series is exactly the same from year to year. This work is for anyone who has ever been interested in the relationship between photography, time and memory.